Home Alone: Uncovering the extent and value of Home-Based business in Regional Communities

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Regional Professional Studies


School of Regional Professional Studies




Morris, R. J., & Pike, S. (2002). Home alone: uncovering the extent and value of home-based business in regional communities. In Proceedings of the SEAANZ 15th Conference: Small Enterprise: Accessing the Global Economy. Adelaide, SA: Flinders University.


Home-based businesses (HBBs) constitute a very significant component of the small business sector yet they have a level of invisibility that precludes recognition of their value to local economies and the development of sustainable communities. Statistics relating to local government home occupation registrations strongly suggest the official numbers of HBBs are greatly understated. This phenomenon presents a challenge for local authorities and support agencies seeking to manage and support this important sector of their local economies. Whilst there is a growing interest in and body of knowledge emerging there still exists a dearth of information available about this important group of businesses. The lack of knowledge and understanding of this business sector prompted a federally funded study of HBBs in regional Western Australia. This study was the first of its magnitude conducted in the state and formed the basis for developing a regional local government policy aimed at better supporting and fostering the growth of the HBB sector. This paper presents the key findings of this regionally based research. It reports the extent of the economic contribution of HBBs in the region and their growth aspirations. It identifies issues impacting on HBBs particularly in relation to local government policy and outlines how a sub-regional group of six local authorities used the findings of this study to develop a uniform regional HBB policy and the challenges associated with achieving this outcome. In this respect, this study not only builds on the existing body of knowledge relating to HBBs, but enhances our understanding of the nature of this sector in regional economies and their actual and potential impact on regional development.